The U.S. special envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Richard Grenell has called on all political parties in Kosovo to accept the Constitutional Court’s ruling, which states that President Hashim Thaci has the right to sidestep the election winner if they don’t take “swift action” to nominate a candidate for prime minister.
In a press release, Grenell stated that he is looking forward to working with the new Kosovo government, RFE/REL reports.
“The Constitutional Court has spoken. To ensure peace and stability – and to support the integrity of Kosovo’s justice system – everyone must respect the Court’s decision. I’m looking forward to continuing my work with the people of Kosovo and their government to bring prosperity, development and jobs to the region,” Grenell stated.
Shortly after late night publication of the Constitutional Court ruling, the U.S. Embassy in Kosovo also called on political parties to comply with it.
The published ruling, as well as Kosovo’s constitution does not specify the deadline for the largest party to nominate a candidate, which is one of the key elements in the crisis. It still remains unclear why the Court has deemed the 20-day deadline effectively put in place by the President as constitutional. However, the Court is expected to publish the ruling in full in the coming days.
The new government is expected to be led by the election runner up LDK, in coalition with several other parties.
Grenell has been accused of pushing for the toppling of the Kurti government amidst the coronavirus crisis, after the prime minister didn’t remove tariffs with Serbia immediately and unconditionally, as Grenell demanded. Instead, Kurti lifted the tariffs in two steps within a few days, and warned to implement reciprocity measures if Serbia didn’t show a sign of good will toward stopping it’s “campaign of derecognition”, i.e. lobbying with countries to withdraw their recognition of Kosovo. A few days before the lifting of tariffs, Serbia’s foreign minister had insisted that Serbia won’t stop the campaign until a deal is reached with Kosovo.
Junior coalition partner LDK then filed a successful no-confidence motion against Kurti, accusing him of jeopardizing relations with the U.S. by not complying with Grenell’s demands.
International relations experts, former U.S. diplomats, U.S. congressmen and Albanian American organizations have accused Grenell of pushing unfairly for a quick Kosovo-Serbia deal, possibly including land swap, before the November U.S. presidential elections. Grenell has rejected all allegations.
The Kosovo-Serbia dialogue is led by the EU envoy Miroslav Lajcak, who has excluded land swap from the negotiations agenda.